itwbennett writes: At the company's shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced a partnership with Oracle that could result in Yahoo becoming your default search provider in your browser. Starting this month, when users are prompted to update to the next version of Java, they'll be asked to make Yahoo their default search engine on Chrome (and Internet Explorer, for what it's worth). And, according to a Wall Street Journal report, the button will be checked by default, so if you aren't looking out for it, you might unwittingly find yourself a Yahoo user.
An anonymous reader writes: Last week, Mozilla updated Firefox to add Pocket integration — software that lets you save web articles to read later. Over the weekend, some Firefox users began to voice their displeasure over the move on public forums like Bugzilla, Google Groups, and Hacker News. The complaints center around Pocket being a proprietary third-party service, which already exists as an add-on, and is not a required component for a browser. Integrating Pocket directly into Firefox means it cannot be removed, only disabled. In response, Mozilla has released a statement saying users like the integration and the integration code is open source.
An anonymous reader writes: Sony Music CEO Doug Morris said in an interview that Apple will announce a new music streaming service tomorrow at its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). The new Apple Music service will include subscription streaming music features as well as a revamped iTunes Radio service. "What does Apple bring to this?" Morris said. "Well, they've got $178 billion in the bank. And they have 800 million credit cards in iTunes. Spotify has never really advertised because it's never been profitable. My guess is that Apple will promote this like crazy and I think that will have a halo effect on the streaming business. A rising tide will lift all boats," he added. "It's the beginning of an amazing moment for our industry."
An anonymous reader writes: Intel has often been portrayed as the golden child within the Linux community and by those desiring a fully-free system without tainting their kernel with binary blobs while wanting a fully-supported open-source driver. The Intel Linux graphics driver over the years hasn't required any firmware blobs for acceleration, compared to AMD's open-source driver having many binary-only microcode files and Nouveau also needing blobs — including firmware files that NVIDIA still hasn't released for their latest GPUs. However, beginning with Intel Skylake and Broxton CPUs, their open-source driver will now too require closed-source firmware. The required "GuC" and "DMC" firmware files are for handling the new hardware's display microcontroller and workload scheduling engine. These firmware files are explicitly closed-source licensed and forbid any reverse-engineering. What choices are left for those wanting a fully-free, de-blobbed system while having a usable desktop?
jones_supa writes: Microsoft announced that a Windows 10 upgrade will be free for users running Windows 7 and 8.1, but there will be a number of features that will no longer work after that upgrade. The features that will no longer work are listed on the official specifications page on Microsoft's website. Some of the deprecated features include: Media Center, out-of-the-box DVD playback and USB floppy support, desktop gadgets, deferring updates (Home edition), old versions of Windows games, and Windows Live Essentials version of OneDrive.
OutOnARock notes that as PayPal separates from eBay in the coming months, new terms of service are set to take effect on July 1st. Most of the changes unexciting, but one provision has consumer rights groups up in arms: PayPal is granting itself the ability to use automated systems to call and text users. These robocalls could happen for something as serious as debt collection or as frivolous as advertisements. What's more, the company grants the same rights to its affiliates. Activists are questioning the legality of these changes. "Given that both the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (which created the Do Not Call list) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ban most robocalling and texting, this seemed in direct opposition to consumer protections granted Americans by Congress." PayPal says it will comply with all laws, but their actions may spark a legal debate about whether terms of service can qualify as "written consent."
szotz writes: No shrinking machine in an underground military lab (as far as we know). And no Raquel Welch. Still there is a growing microrobotics movement underway, looking at ways that tiny, untethered robots might be used to perform medical interventions in the human body. There have been piecemeal reports for years now of various designs, such as microscallops that can swim through the eye and bots that can be pushed around by bacteria flagella. This article in IEEE Spectrum gives a round-up of recent progress and looks at some of the difficulties that arise when you try to make things tiny and still have them retain a modicum (or give them more than a modicum) of function.
Ammalgam writes with news that Windows 10 will be released worldwide on July 29th, 2015. It'll be immediately available for PCs and tablets — their announcement doesn't mention smartphones. The upgrade will be free (within one year of launch) for users running legitimate copies of Windows 7 and 8.1. Another reader notes that users of those two operating systems are now being prompted to upgrade by a message in their notification area (system tray).
jones_supa writes: Back in February, users decried the new icon look in Windows 10. In response to that feedback, Microsoft has implemented a new icon pack in build 10125, which was leaked early but expected to arrive soon for Technical Preview testers. Screenshots show what the final version of the OS could look like when it goes live this summer. The new icons go all-in on a flat approach, following the same design cues as the rest of the operating system, but the "pixel art" style has been abandoned. Once again, Softpedia asked for user experiences, and this time the comments have been mostly positive.
schwit1 tips news that Oregon will become the first U.S. state to test a program to replace their gas tax with a fee for each mile citizens drive on public roads. The 5,000 people voluntarily participating in the test will be charged 1.5 cents per mile. Revenue from gas tax has been on the decline as vehicles get more fuel efficient and as hybrids and electric cars become more popular. This measure is an attempt to raise the amount of money the state takes in to pay for infrastructure projects. Many owners of those hybrid and electric vehicles are upset, saying it specifically targets them and discourages environmentally-friendly transportation. Others point out that those who drive electric vehicles need the roads maintained just as much as people still driving gas-powered cars.
mpicpp writes with news that Google will now begin showing tweets alongside search results. Mobile users searching via the Android/iOS apps or through the browser will start seeing the tweets immediately, while the desktop version is "coming shortly." The tweets will only be available for the searches in English to start, but Twitter says they'll be adding more languages soon.
An anonymous reader writes: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. All that talk about pirates getting free Windows 10 upgrades? Not happening. For genuine users, the free upgrade to Windows 10 means receiving "ongoing Windows innovation and security updates for free, for the supported lifetime of that device." Terry Myerson, Microsoft's executive vice president of operating systems, has clarified the company's plans were not changing for non-genuine users: "Microsoft and our OEM partners know that many consumers are unwitting victims of piracy, and with Windows 10, we would like all of our customers to move forward with us together. While our free offer to upgrade to Windows 10 will not apply to Non-Genuine Windows devices, and as we've always done, we will continue to offer Windows 10 to customers running devices in a Non-Genuine state."
An anonymous reader writes: The BBC, BuzzFeed, NBC, The New York Times and National Geographic are among some of the publishers which will post news items directly to a Facebook user's timeline thanks to a new feature called Instant Articles. Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, says the program will allow publishers to “deliver fast, interactive articles while maintaining control of their content and business models.” Under the terms of the plan, publishers can sell and embed ads in the articles and keep the revenue, or allow Facebook to sell ads. Publishers will also be allowed to track data and traffic with their own analytics tools.
jones_supa writes: Jerry Nixon, a Microsoft developer evangelist, said at the Ignite conference in Chicago that Windows 10 "is the last version of Windows, so we're always working on Windows 10." Saying that is only half true. In fact, Microsoft will start working on large updates instead of stand-alone Windows releases, so the company would switch from a model that previously brought us new versions of Windows every three years, to a simpler one that's likely to bring big updates every two months. The company will also change the naming system for Windows, so instead of Windows $(version), the new operating system would be simply called Windows.
stowie writes: According to the filing with the USPTO, the e-commerce giant's delivery drones will be able to communicate with each other, find the best flight path available, and update the delivery location as a customer changes location. Package delivery locations will be updated as customers move around, so a package can come to you at work or home, depending on where you are when your shipment is ready — including pulling location data from a smartphone. There will also be relay locations, allowing drones to drop off packages for further transport, or to recharge or swap batteries. Amazon even supplies a mockup of what its delivery drone could look like, including eight propellers, two removable power modules and much more.
New submitter arctother writes: Taxicab Subjects has posted a response to a Morgan Stanley analyst's recent take on how driverless cars will shape society in the future. From the article: [R]eally, 'autonomy' is still not the right word for it. Just as the old-fashioned 'automobile' was never truly 'auto-mobile,' but relied, not only on human drivers, but an entire concrete infrastructure built into cities and smeared across the countryside, so the interconnected 'autonomous vehicles' of the future will be even more dependent on the interconnected systems of which they are part. To see this as 'autonomy' is to miss the deeper reality, which will be control. Which is why the important movement reflected in the chart's up-down continuum is not away from 'Human Drivers' to 'Autonomous' cars, but from a relatively decentralized system (which relies on large numbers of people knowing how to drive) to an increasingly centralized system (relying on the knowledge of a small number of people)."
Toshito writes Desjardins Insurance has launched a smartphone app that tracks driver behaviour in return for the promise of substantial savings on car insurance. Two years ago, Desjardins began offering a telematic device that plugs into a vehicle's diagnostic port, to track acceleration, hard braking and the time of day you were driving, for instance. Now, there's no plug-in device required. With Desjardins's new Ajusto app, all you need is your smartphone. But this comes with great concerns over privacy, and problems have been reported where the device was logging data when the user was riding a bus instead of driving his own car.
jones_supa writes: The second technical preview of Windows Server 2016 will be launching in May as the first one nears its expiration date. The next Windows Server is being developed and targeted for an early 2016 release, however, the latest and greatest preview builds haven't been released to the public by Microsoft since October 2014. At the same time, Windows 10 builds have been released regularly to everybody who wants to try them out. It was revealed earlier that the Windows Server release won't take place along with that of Windows 10, so it makes sense that Microsoft is pushing more builds of the desktop OS out for testing first. There is no mention of an exact date of the upcoming Windows Server Technical Preview, but an announcement can be expected during the upcoming BUILD 2015 conference which starts on 29th April.
An anonymous reader sends word of Ford's new "Intelligent Speed Limiter" technology, which they say will prevent drivers from unintentionally exceeding the speed limit. When the system is activated (voluntarily) by the driver, it asks for a current maximum speed. From then on, a camera mounted on the windshield will scan the road ahead for speed signs, and automatically adjust the maximum speed to match them. The system can also pull speed limit data from navigation systems. When the system detects the car exceeding the speed limit, it won't automatically apply the brakes — rather, it will deliver less fuel to the engine until the vehicle's speed drops below the limit. If the speed still doesn't drop, a warning noise will sound. The driver can override the speed limit by pressing "firmly" on the accelerator. The technology is being launched in Europe with the Ford S-MAX.